The Village Association Of Batavia named two recipients for its Property Improvement Award for the month of June. Two local business owners took it upon themselves to beautify the properties they lease in an effort to promote their businesses and beautify the village.
Batavia resident Virgil Knapke received the first award for improvements made to the Snappy Tomato Pizza restaurant at the corner of Main Street and North Riverside Drive. He made renovations to the store before opening five months ago and recently replaced the large sign out front.
“I felt like I wanted a nice clean look. I use the sign to communicate with the community and advertise,” Knapke said. “It’s difficult to advertise a single location in an efficient way so the sign is really important to me.”
"It has been difficult to overcome the perception that we're closed," Knapke said.
In order to install the sign he needed the approval of the Batavia zoning board, which he received on the condition that the old sign was removed. He said he negotiated with the landlord to have the sign removed at their expense and he payed for the installation of the new sign.
"The village wanted the sign down and I was willing to take the initiative to have it taken down," Knapke said. "I took care of the cost myself because it was that important to my business."
He said the remodeling inside the building was, he felt, no different from what any other business lessee would do to tailor the space to fit their needs. The design relies heavily on the Snappy Tomato theme of red, green, and black. Knapke said he wants to present a crisp, clean restaurant.
"I had an old sergeant when I was on K.P. duty get up in my face and yell 'people eat with their eyes' and that sort of stuck with me," Knapke said. "I know what my expectations are when I go out to eat and I feel pretty particular about the look of the restaurant."
The walls of Snappy Tomato are decorated with photos of local high school athletes by local photography John Dingo.
"He does great creative work and I wanted to have a local feel," Knapke said. "Plus it was an opportunity to cooperate with another business in town."